Former game charter Ajit Kirpekar shares his observations on the Colts' loss at New England
Here were my thoughts coming into this game:
- In watching last year’s meeting, the colts’ offense had an unusual game, in that they started out well, then went through a massive lull, before exploding in the 4th quarter with a series of amazing throws and catches. New England played the game in a primarily nickel fashion with a 4-3 look. In addition to the usual 4 down lineman, they had played with 3 dbs and alternated between 3 safeties and 2 linebackers depending on down and distance. They got burned in the beginning by Clark, so they resolved to chip and harass him with a linebacker, effectively limiting him for most of the game. They played a lot of two 2 deep safeties, alternating between doubling the inside receiver and shadowing wayne. Both NE corners starting corners covered well that night. The Two big matchup issues that surfaced in that game are also the same two issues that have been reoccurring every week. First, the Colts' run game has to be able to punish a team that plays a blatant pass rush front. The other involves Garcon being able to beat man coverage which hasn’t happened all year. In that game, he faced a good corner in Leigh Bodden and save for one brilliant throw manning on a sluggo route, Garcon was largely held in a vice grip. He wasn’t be facing Bodden this week so Garcon has no more excuses left. As Greg Cosell noted, this offense boils down to how effectively they can run the ball. As long as teams continue to play these pass defense fronts, Manning can only do so much with the limited personnel he has. Even still, as tempting as it is to focus on the running game, this game will come down to Manning brilliance. Last year he beat tight coverage all night with surreal accuracy; making stick throws after stick throws.